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Gustave Caillebotte and Visual Representation: Perspective, Photography and Movement

Pelacchi, Laetitia (2014) Gustave Caillebotte and Visual Representation: Perspective, Photography and Movement. Master of Arts by Research (MARes) thesis, University of Kent,. (KAR id:48027)

Language: English
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Language: English
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This dissertation examines spatial composition in Caillebotte’s painting and, through it, his ways of producing visual experience for the viewer. The four chapters evaluate the artist’s methods of composition through the use of perspective, photography, light and colour and depiction of the figures. This project will explore the development of his pictorial space organisation through the study of his realist works of the 1870s and the understanding of his convergence with Impressionism at the end of the decade and early 1880s.

The first two chapters explore Caillebotte’s approach to spatial organization in his predominantly urban based works of the 1870s, examining the interaction these pictures establish with the viewer through their manipulation of space. It looks at how Caillebotte composed his paintings through the tradition of perspective and also his engagement with photography and photographic effects. The uses of photography in Caillebotte’s work is the particular focus attempts of the second chapter where I weigh up the evidence of Caillebotte’s use of photographic devices and look at the relationship of his painting to his brother’s photography.

The second chapter of the dissertation explores Caillebotte’s evolution towards a more Impressionistic style of composition and the artistic dialogue with Monet that drew his work closer to impressionist painting. This sees the transition of Caillebotte’s representation of picture-space from the more structured and ordered compositions of the early 1870s, to a freer and looser style of painting focused more on atmosphere and light. Caillebotte’s depictions of the countryside bear close comparison with Monet in terms of their motifs, palette and technique. Like Monet, Caillebotte begins to translate and organise what he sees through colours, light and movement. However, Caillebotte preserved a sense of spatial structure in most of his paintings that differentiates his work from his Impressionist colleagues. The chapter also goes on to explore whether the change of motif in his work in the 1880s from city to countryside subjects influences his methods of composition?

l argue that while Caillebotte and Monet share some similarities, they differ in their approaches towards Impressionism. Caillebotte puts more emphasis on the representation of figures as a way of conveying sensations through the figure’s gaze while Monet prefers to focus on pure landscape, where the only gaze is that of the solitary artist as spectator.

The final chapter returns to the question of the figure and the way in which Caillebotte manipulates the attention of the viewer through the directional gaze of the figure in the picture. Here, drawing on the work of Fried and Prendergast among others I look at how Caillebotte creates complex visual effects of spectating in his work and explore some of the ways in which Caillebotte’s painting contains proto-cinematic devices.

Item Type: Thesis (Master of Arts by Research (MARes))
Thesis advisor: Kear, Jon
Thesis advisor: Mikuriya, Theresa Junko
Uncontrolled keywords: Caillebotte, Impressionism, Photography, J. Kirk T. Varnedoe, Renaissance, History of Art, Perspective, Light, Colours, Effects, Musée d'Orsay, Master by Research, Thesis, Painters, Painting, Paris, The City of Light, Italy, Movement
Subjects: N Visual Arts > ND Painting
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Arts
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 21 Apr 2015 17:00 UTC
Last Modified: 08 Dec 2022 15:44 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Pelacchi, Laetitia.

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